Andrew is a professional blogger. He maintains several blogs for third-party companies. In addition to that, he has his own online course and webinars, where he teaches other freelancers to launch their own blogs and make money off them. Today he is going to discuss how to find a perfect topic for an online course.
I decided to start my own project after listening to the Product Launch Formula course by Jeff Walker.
After the successful launch, I realized that choosing the right topic for online course is the most important step in the entire enterprise.
Choosing the Topic for Online Course Correctly
Here is how you can look for ideas:
- First, determine your area of expertise. Ask yourself – what are your skills and strengths?
- Read the comments in your blog and write down the frequently asked questions.
- Clients’ emails contain so many ideas! Facebook groups are helpful in that regard as well. Here I would recommend reading posts in groups related to your field. For example, if you want to teach blogging, look for the common problems in the groups dedicated to blogging.
Most likely, the most frequent questions will also be the most basic ones, such as how to create a blog in the first place. Another popular variant is “how to launch a successful blog with small investments and live off your hobby.”
It doesn’t matter how much you love the idea yourself – you should always think about whether it will click with your audience. Look at the statistics from Google Ads to get a more definitive answer. It help evaluate the topic’s relevance and competitiveness on the market. It is also great for finding new topic ideas.
For example, if you choose a topic from the accounting career path, make sure you cover all of the subtle details from basics to how to become a CPA (you can find information about this on websites dedicated to this subject, such as BeatTheCPA.
Such instruments work even better when you understand your potential participants. Personal communication, polls, surveys, social networks – all that can help you create a profile of your typical attendee.
Try to understand why people come to your courses and webinars:
- To get new knowledge and industry-specific skills
- To keep abreast of the news and industry trends
- To obtain fresh ideas relevant to their work
Of course, some just want to relax and procrastinate, but such people usually are not willing to pay for content anyway.
If you chose a webinar format for the course, do not write the word “webinar” in all headlines and invitations. There are plenty of synonyms you can use; after all, you are not required to call a webinar by its name.
Don’t get me wrong – I love webinars. They work for my clients and me.
However, try alternatives such as special course, master-class, guide, training to reach out to those participants who only see webinars as a form of marketing.
How to Formulate the Online Course Topic
To define the topic and the questions I will answer during the course, I seek inspiration.
- I read various blogs, books, websites, newsletters, and watch relevant YouTube channels.
- I take other people’s courses and participate in events, webinars, conferences, master classes.
- I note down examples, both successful and not, from my experience.
- I have prolific discussions with my colleagues.
What to Do Once You Have the Topic
Once I have the topic, I divide the course into two parts.
For example, in the first part I may talk about the basics of blogging: how to start and create your own website, what to write about to attract readers, how to promote and market your blog.
The second part would involve a detailed guide towards launching your own business via the blog in 85 days. Usually, I follow the per month progression: every month, you get different tasks to fulfil.
The Next Step
The next step includes crafting a plan, setting the main goals, and writing a list of assignments for each purpose. After that comes creating deadlines for every task. I believe it’s extremely important to enter all assignments into the calendar and follow the set plan.
Goal: preparing an online course “85 days from blog to business.”
- Create a course plan (02/10)
- Record a video (03/01)
- Edit the video (03/23)
- Write a list of tasks (04/01)
- Prepare bonuses (04/15)
Create a course plan:
- Names of modules
- Lecture titles for every module
- Examples of different tasks
- Topics for bonus lessons
Record a video:
- Create slides for presentation (Canva)
- Prepare the entire presentation, troubleshoot its display
- Find time for recording
And the list goes on…
- Have one idea per slide
- Avoid bullet points. Every point must have its own dedicated slide
- Choose the highest quality pictures both for aesthetics and professionalism
- Select 36+ font sizes. Participants with smaller screens will appreciate that
These are tips for choosing the topic and writing a plan. While this is the most crucial steps, for everything to work out, you still need to put in much effort.
Make Working on Course Obligatory for Yourself
I know it can be hard to organize yourself. It’s especially hard when you take up a difficult endeavor, but there is no boss or deadlines to control you. When I start long-term projects, I do it as if I was working with a team.
In addition to the planner, I create a project in Trello. This is a platform for setting up and managing projects. It helps organize the workflow and solve everyday problems.
I try to start working every day at the same time and analyze the time spent.
Since the end is not near, and it’s necessary to keep up the motivation, I always think of a reward for every successfully completed stage.
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
If you really want to launch your course, avoid perfectionism. It’s better to do a good enough project in a timely fashion than to crave for perfection up until the idea is no longer relevant.
For example, think long and hard whether it makes sense to invest a couple of months into your own e-learning platform. I would not risk it: the chance to lose the incentive and miss the moment is too high.
If you have little time or the material you want to present has an expiry date, it’s better to choose a good webinar platform for your course.
This format will save at least a month or two that you would otherwise spend trying to get to grips with making your own videos and e-learning platforms in general.
It is also much easier to attract participants for a webinar with a minimal promotional budget.
If you want to share your experience with launching webinars, please send your story to our email firstname.lastname@example.org.